The Most Popular Equine Sports

Most loved horse sports. 

Horse riding and equine sports have been popular and widespread for quite some time, horses in sport is something that has been around since man first decided that they wanted to domesticate horses. It is believed that the domestication of horses started nearly 6,000 years ago, so this has been going on for a very long time. 

Horse racing is currently one of the most popular sports to bet on, and horse racing comes out on top as horse sports to bet on. However, there are many other very popular equine sports you can bet on or simply watch for enjoyment. So aside from the traditional flat racing that we are used to betting on, what other equine sports are top of the charts?


Dressage is a test to both the horse and their rider. They are tested on how well they can perform a series of prescribed movements. The term dressage is derived from the French verb ‘dresseur’ which means ‘to train’. Top dressage students train their horses to develop harmonious and fluid movements performed from what seem like imperceptible signals. 

Dressage is a very difficult discipline to master, and it is known for having deep historical and classical roots. Global competitions even filter into the Olympics for the whole world to see. 

Cross Country Jumping. 

Cross-country jumping is also a very popular sport, it is a test of the horse and rider’s endurance, skill and agility, as they run a prescribed course through fields and forests up to two miles long. The source is set with an optimal time that it must be completed in, and they must negotiate logs, ditches, streams, banks, hills, and fences in pursuit of a clear round with zero penalties for disobedience, falls, rider errors or going over time. Whoever has the lowest score wins. 

Show Jumping. 

In show jumping events, also known as stadium jumping, the horse and rider need to jump a series of obstacles within a certain time limit. This course will include fences no more than 1.6 meters high, which are typically placed less than 12 meters apart. There are three major classes that score the competitors on different standards; Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation. 

Hunters are based on the horse, its movements and jumps. Jumpers are objective and all about numbers, primarily on the timed first round, as well as power and speed. Equitation is subjective and completely based on the rider. The smoothest and most effortless looking rounds are the ones that score best.


This is what is known as the equestrians’ triathlon, including Dressage, Cross Country Jumping, and Show Jumping. It is an ultimate test to a horse and rider’s overall ability from grace, to bravery, endurance, poise and precision. Throughout the event they will accumulate penalty points and then the lowest score at the end will win. It is one of the few Olympic sports to date where both men and women compete as equals. 


Para-equestrianism provides both education and competition opportunities for athletes who have physical disabilities. This sport opens up a world of competition to athletes with severe disabilities that may otherwise keep them from playing other team sports. Functional ability is used to group the riders to allow for an even playing field. Para-dressage and diving are two of the main competitions these athletes compete in, and the competitors are found at every level of skill around the world. 

This sport is included in the Paralympics and the World Equestrian Games. 

Endurance riding. 

This sport is a timed test of a horse and rider team’s ability to traverse a marked and measured cross-country trail over natural terrain, covering 50 to 100 miles per day. In this event, riders are allowed 12hours to complete a 50-mile ride and 24-hours to complete a 100-mile ride. 


Reigning events are events to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse within an arena. Both the horse and the rider perform twelve specific patterns, exhibiting compulsory movements that include small slow circles, large fast circles, flying changes of lead, rollback, quick 26-spins, and the good old hallmark sliding stops. 

Horse ball. 

Ever wanted to play a combination of basketball and rugby while riding a horse? Well this is your chance, horse ball is a combo of these sports, just without the tackling. It is based on offense and defense with the objective or scoring goals, there are also six team members with four players and two substitutes. It’s a unique game that brings three disciplines into one. 

You can view the original article HERE.

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